Itch.io is a platform for selling games. It started off with indie computer games and has grown into a more expansive collection. That broader collection includes tabletop RPGs, sometimes classified as a “physical game” but also live in the downloads section only, as PDFs fit the bill.
The marketplace is generally considered an alternative to DriveThruRPG even though there’s no deal with printers for print-on-demand in place. However, it can also be used as an alternative to Kickstarter.
Itchfunding is the process of using Itch.io to raise additional funds from sales and special offers to improve an already complete product.
End of the Line is a horror game that’s currently running an Itchfunding program. That’s due to close at the end of October.
I spoke to Kyle Tinga, the creator of the game, about it and about Itchfunding.
What is Itchfunding?
Itchfunding is the colloquial term for financing game development on Itch.io. Unlike KS, where you fund without a product in place, Itch requires a product to already exist. There isn’t a formal funding platform on Itch – it’s a matter of creating a sale, setting its duration, creating goals and rewards, and making that advertising push yourself! This means that a product needs to at least be mostly done/presentable for sale. You can find much more in-depth information in Itchfunding here: Itchfunding.games FAQ.
Why not use Kickstarter?
I’m based in the Philippines, and the honest truth is that Kickstarter funding isn’t available to a majority of the world. You can buy into a KS, but because payments are processed through Stripe, countries without that processing can’t make use of it.
Are there any accountability safeguards in place for Itchfunding? Any protections for backers?
Unfortunately, as far as I can tell there’s no built-in accountability for fulfilling reward tiers that aren’t straight delivery of product.
Could you tell us about End of the Line and why you picked Itchfunding for it?
End of the Line is my one-page, one shot comedy horror RPG! It’s a riff on Final Destination, one that uses a d4-based resolution system I made called Bad Time Dice. I chose Itchfunding so I can pay for the creation of a logo for an SRD (System Reference Document), as well as custom fillable and pregenerated character sheets. I want to make sure that the creatives I work with are paid appropriately!
What has Itchfunding been like for you? Would you do it again or recommend it to others?
To be honest, a little stressful AND exciting! All of the marketing and traffic to the game is driven by my own promotion on social media and through external channels, and it’s hard to keep up that momentum since Itch is a marketplace, not a platform. That means it’s very easy for “funding” games to get lost in the constant deluge of uploads. It’s also got a much more niche audience than a Kickstarter, a platform seen and used by millions the world over.
Do you think we might see more publishers use Itchfunding?
Definitely! It’s a lot easier to set up than a Kickstarter, especially since as a sale you can already receive a payout from Itch partway through the period. That means I can already give the Lone Archivist, my logo designer, the down payment to begin work as opposed to having to wait till the end of the funding period!
What could Itch do to make it better for backers/buyers and for publishers/sellers?
Provide a dedicated platform and tools for campaigning, in the style of Kickstarter? Also, make it easier to split revenue of publication between collaborators! That would make it even easier to use the already existing sales tool when Itchfunding for a work involving multiple people.
Backing End of the Line
As Kickstarters have tiers, you can buy exclusive content during the Itchfunding for End of the Line.
If you buy the game for $4.46, which is more than the cover price, you get a starring role. That means a thank you on the store page but also get to suggest one of the pre-generated characters.
A big step up to $16.75, and only two slots are remaining here, you get a pre-genned character in your honour and a scenario based on your suggestions. there’s one higher; $40.20 to name the Bad Time Games mascot.
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